Another blasphemy case in Kabul. This time, a friend of mine, Taqi Bakhtiari the author of the novel Gomnami [Anonymity] is being threatened to death by phone, text, in person and even on social networking sites. The main person behind the death threats is Sayed Mohsen Hojjat, a Kabul-based clergyman close to Ayatollah Asif Mohseni.
The gang of extremists has threatened Taak Books, the publisher, and the booksellers of Kabul as well. According to this BBC Persian report, It’s difficult to find a copy of the book in the city as the booksellers don’t sell it anymore.
The book which was published in fall 2012 in Kabul is about an Afghan refugee in Iran who enrolls in a seminary in Isfahan. In the seminary, the master who is an Ayatollah rapes him. He gradually realizes that the world of religion is not what they say it is. He starts reading non-religious books and loses his faith. He returns to Afghanistan as a godless man. (A plot line which is familiar to all Afghans who have been to Iran during the war years. Not everyone was raped, but the majority came back with strong anti-religion feelings. )
I haven’t read the book yet, so I can’t judge the content or the quality of the novel. But what I know is that Taqi is a gifted, imaginative and courageous writer, who is not afraid to write down his ideas and imaginations and publish them. The kind of writer which is very rare in Afghanistan.
Since the threats got serious, he and his family have been living in a secret place in Kabul, and some friends even believe that he has fled the country. He can’t be reached.
Taqi Bakhtiari is in his late 30s and Gomnami is his second novel after Balway-e Khuftagan. Born in Jaghuri, Ghazni province, he has a Bachelor degree in journalism from Balkh University and has worked for an American company in Kabul for the past several years.
The DW-Dari has published a picture of Taqi’s half-burnt book that the unknown Islamists have thrown into his home and a picture of his lovely red Corolla with its windshield smashed and these words painted upon it: “The son of Salman Rushdie. Godless Infidel.”